If you have been living in the United States for any length of time and are afraid to return to your own country, you may wonder what options are available to you. Depending on your country of origin and the date on which you arrived in this country, you may be eligible for temporary protected status, which is a humanitarian program allowing individuals to remain in the United States until circumstances in their own countries are safer.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security determines when the situation in a country is too volatile or difficult for a foreign national to safely return. Under specific conditions, those individuals may find safe haven, apply for work and live under certain protections during that time.
Is my country on the list?
Only those from designated countries may apply. The DHS may add countries to the list under certain conditions, including.
- A war or military conflict
- An earthquake, hurricane or other natural disaster
- An uncontrolled epidemic
Other extraordinary circumstances may qualify your country for inclusion on the list of those designated for temporary status. Currently, individuals from these 10 countries are eligible to apply:
- El Salvador
- South Sudan
The designation of several of these countries will expire at the end of the year or early in 2018. However, within 60 days of the expiration, the Secretary of Homeland Security may extend a country’s eligibility for up to 18 months. That deadline has passed for at least two of the countries. However, if your country is on this list, temporary protection may be within your grasp.
If you are eligible to remain here under the TPS program, you may obtain authorization to work legally. In addition, immigration may not detain you or remove you from this country simply because of your status. You can apply for this protection as long as you file during the appropriate times, have been living here since your country’s designation date and have no felony convictions. If you are banned from asylum or other status protections, you may not be eligible.
Completing the process for protected status
Applying for TPS is complex and may be confusing, but following the rules is essential to acceptance into the program. Following is a very general explanation of the process.
You must complete an application form, submit proof of your identity and nationality, and offer evidence that you met the entrance deadline into the United States. You must also show that you have lived here continuously since your entry. When immigration agents receive your application, they will contact you for an interview during which you will submit to photographs and fingerprinting. Following an evaluation of the evidence, the DHS will either accept or deny your application.
If you are not accepted, you still have the option to appeal. If the DHS accepts you into the TPS program, it will be important for you to maintain your status by re-applying at every registration period. Missing these deadlines may jeopardize your status. In fact, there are many opportunities along the way to place your registration at risk. Having assistance from a Kentucky immigration attorney will improve your chances of successful admittance into temporary protection.